I spent much of the past three months preparing for an on-stage interview at the Auckland Writers Festival with Johnson, who died on Wednesday, May 24. He cancelled his appearance several weeks before the festival, but it was a great pleasure—and often an education—to read and reread his books and prepare for the meeting.
This (for now) is less about Denis Johnson than about the way that following our favorite authors opens unexpected conversations, permitting chance encounters with writers we otherwise might not have met. It’s like one friend guaranteeing that we’ll enjoy the company of another.
My start-of-the-year reading of Johnson’s work opened the door to Leonard Gardner and his slim masterpiece Fat City (1969).